The Solfeggio Frequencies are said to make up an ancient musical scale, once lost but now revived and revered by many.
Those new to the concept can expect to find online a minefield of information that is difficult to decipher: awash with mystical stories, anecdotal musings and wild claims.
One thing's for sure though, it's interesting and, having studied music, my mind has been encapsulated with this subject for some time.
So, it was about time I wrote on this subject and brought everything you need to know about the Solfeggio Frequencies into one digestible piece.
So grab a cup of for this, as it's a deep 7-minute read that will hopefully help you understand the Solfeggio scale and its surrounding myths and truths.
Frequencies – Music & Healing
One of Shakespeare’s most famous quotes is: “If music be the food of love, play on.”
Music has indeed been the source of many an inspirational quote, with many likening it to a universal language. And like all languages, it has evolved over time.
But it’s more than jazz, rock and roll, the blues or gospel, to name a few relatively recent genres. It has a rich history that some regard as being rooted if not in religion, certainly in spirituality.
Indeed, many deep thinkers have written essays on its therapeutic and mood-altering qualities and studies of sound show us that music is all about frequencies and vibrations. Indeed, musical notes are just that.
The Solfeggio Frequencies are linked to mathematics and religion — which we'll get to in a minute — and are said to have a powerful impact on one’s state of mind and health.
Before we explore the healing properties linked to the Solfeggio scale, let's just acknowledge that music and healing are synonymous and this is nothing we don't know already.
It really is not far fetched at all to think that music can heal the body and reduce mental and physical suffering. Science has proven this to be true.
Indeed, to quote Dr Kamaroff of Harvard Medical:
Music seems to slow heart rate, lower blood pressure, and reduce levels of stress hormones. It can also provide some relief to heart attack and stroke victims and patients undergoing surgery.
Research suggests that music may promote the brain's ability to make new connections between nerve cells. Another idea is that it works its magic through its rhythms.
Humans are rhythmic beings: Our heartbeat, breathing, and brain waves are all rhythmic. The human brain and nervous system are hard-wired to distinguish music from noise and to respond to rhythm and repetition, tones and tunes
Ancient societies have used the power of musical rhythm to hypnotise, heal and induce states of higher consciousness for centuries – indeed the theory behind the repetitive, rhythmic entrainment of binaural beats works on the same principal.
Scientific studies back up Dr Kamaroff's words, and music has shown music to be effective at reducing stress and pain. This study concluded that:
Spontaneous live harp music significantly decreased patient perception of pain by 27% in a ICU setting. The reduction in patient's perception of pain supports the introduction of live harp music into the ICU as a non-invasive means to reduce patient pain.
And this study showed that:
Music listening impacted the psychobiological stress system. Listening to music prior to a standardized stressor predominantly affected the autonomic nervous system (in terms of a faster recovery), and to a lesser degree the endocrine and psychological stress response.
What Are the Solfeggio Frequencies?
Many will remember the Sound of Music song, “Doe, a deer…” that encapsulates modern musical scale, as in:
Doe, a deer, a female deer
Ray, a drop of golden sun
Me, a name I call myself
Far, a long, long way to run
Sew, a needle pulling thread
La, a note to follow Sew
Tea, a drink with jam and bread
That will bring us back to Do (oh-oh-oh)
This vocal note scale (do, re, mi, fa, so, la ,ti, do) is known as solfege and is adapted from an invention by an 11th century monk named Guido D'Arezzo.
D'Arezzo made many improvements in music theory and reworked standard notation to be more user-friendly by adding time signatures. To this day, this innovation has affected every modern vocalist.
Solfege in its original form can be found in Hymn to St. John the Baptist. It begins “ut (rather than do), re, mi, fa, so, la.”
And this is where the Solfeggio Frequencies story resonates from.
Guido put a melody to the Hymn to St. John the Baptist to teach his students how to sight-read a piece of music.
Prior to this melody system, chants for monks were passed down by rote learning and may have taken up to 10 years to learn all they had to.
With just small changes, we still use Guido’s system of sight singing and musical notation today.
It is said that the original musical scale (the Solfeggio Frequencies are found in this Hymn), of which the first stanza reads:
Ut queant laxis
So that your servants may, with loosened voices, resound the wonders of your deeds, clean the guilt from our stained lips, O Saint John.
The hymn is sung to a Gregorian chant, technically the original do-re-mi music. Indeed, the 6-tone scale is said to be widely used in Gregorian Chant thereafter.
If you didn't know, Gregorian chant is a form of unaccompanied sacred song with its roots in the Roman Catholic Church. It developed mainly in western and central Europe during the 9th and 10th centuries, with later additions and redactions.
Professor Willi Apel, a German-American musicologist and noted author of a number of books devoted to music, noted that upon analysis, what's peculiar about Hymn to St. John the Baptist is that the first six lines of the music commence respectively on the first six successive notes of the scale, and therefore the first syllable of each line is sung to a note one degree higher that the first syllable of the previous line.
And this was just half of the story…
How the Solfeggio Frequencies Were Discovered
Leading on from what Apel had noted, Dr Joseph Puleo, a neuropathic physician and one of the US’ leading herbalists began to research the Solfeggio frequencies in the mid-1970s.
In his examination of the Bible, he found in Chapter 7, Verses 12-83 that there were a pattern of six repeating codes around a series of sacred numbers 3, 6 and 9.
When he deciphered these using the ancient Pythagorean method of reducing the verse numbers to their single digit integers (now known as modular 9 arithmetic), the codes revealed a series of six electromagnetic sound frequencies that corresponded to the syllables from the Hymn to St. John the Baptist.
“UT, RE, MI, FA, SO, LA.”
Each is said to correspond to a colour and hertz frequency with its own quality.
Puleo deciphered them as follows.
UT – 396 Hz – Liberating Guilt and Fear
RE – 417 Hz – Undoing Situations and Facilitating Change
MI – 528 Hz – Transformation and Miracles (DNA Repair) and derives from the phrase “MI-ra gestorum”. In Latin it means “miracle”. This it is claimed is the exact frequency used by genetic biochemists to repair broken DNA – the genetic blueprint upon which life is based)
FA – 639 Hz – Connecting/Relationships
SOL – 741 Hz – Awakening Intuition
LA – 852 Hz – Returning to Spiritual Order
To quote Nikola Tesla, the late and great Serbian-US genius and father of electromagnetic engineering:
If you only knew the magnificence of the 3, 6 and 9, then you would hold a key to the universe.
And the 3, 6, and 9 are the fundamental root of the Solfeggio Frequencies.
The number 9 certainly has special qualities. Multiply it by any number between 1 and 10 and you get a double-digit number the individual integers of which add up to 9.
Albert Einstein said:
Concerning matter, we have been all wrong. What we have called matter is energy, whose vibration has been so lowered as to be perceptible to the senses. There is no matter.
What he meant was that all matter vibrates at specific rates and everything has its own melody.
Modern science has perhaps begun to recognise what the ancient mystics and wise men have told us for centuries: that everything is in a constant state of vibration. Everything down to the smallest physical particle to the things we cannot perceive with our (yet) limited senses.
The most elemental state of vibration is that of sound. Everything has an optimum range of vibration (frequency), and that rate is called resonance.
Why Was the Solfeggio Scale Lost?
Some will tell you its a conspiracy, and that it was quite deliberate.
Indeed, there is a hint of truth in this.
In 1100 CE, a new secular music movement began. This separation of Church from music rapidly gained pace. This new “folk” music was looked down upon as pagan and blasphemous by the Church, but regardless, modern music moved on and gave birth to many great composers.
Lost in the midst, some say, was the ancient scale. The Solfeggio Frequencies.
But rather than a global or domestic conspiracy, the scale was lost because times moved on. Throughout history, different tuning applications have been used and it took a long time for a standard to appear. Things evolve and adapt. That's life.
Some argue that we couldn't have known the exact tone (from which we can derive the frequencies) that Guido D' Arezzo originally taught this melody in.
Others say that since Guido knew the chant repertoire (because he was a monk) and was able to write the melodies down, we know what those melodies actually sounded like and have a clear reference.
It is said that ancient tuning practices used a system of tuning known as “Just Intonation”.
The method of Just Intonation featured pure intervals between every note that were mathematically related by ratios of small whole numbers leading to a much purer sound.
The tuning practice adopted for Western cultures during the 16th century and used today is known as “Twelve-Tone Equal Temperament”.
According to the late Joachim Ernst-Berendt, a German music journalist who specialised in jazz, the 12-Tone Equal Temperament mistunes all consonant intervals except the octave.
Some argue our modern scale is oppressive in that it creates “boxed-in” thinking and suppressed emotions, is fear-based or lacking in consciousness, all of which then tend to manifest in negative physical symptoms
The same critics say our modern day musical scale is out of sync and dissonant when compared with the original Solfeggio Frequencies scale.
It's possible, and perhaps why people warm quickly to the Solfeggio scale. The same can be said of A=432 concert pitch, which many musicians now choose as a preference as it is closer to the natural frequency resonance of the Earth.
When we are in resonance, we are in balance. Every organ and every cell in our body absorbs and emits sound with particular optimum resonate frequency.
For example, 528 Hz tuned music is said to create resonance in our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual body.
Try it for yourself by listening to Paul McCartney play Let It Be using the 528 Hz frequency:
How Do the Solfeggio Frequencies Link to King David?
Okay, so this is where the rabbit hole goes deeper.
I could have tied this in earlier but I'm trying my best to separate out the elements so that you aren't overwhelmed with information.
In essence, this is a separate theory, but one that you're likely to come across and one that does tie in somewhat with Dr Joseph Puleo's research.
Christians say that King David passed the secret scale on to Solomon, and sometime after Soloman the tones were lost in history.
David was inspired to create the six tones with the strings on his lyre. These six tones are all used within the psalms, also created by David.
The mathematics of the tones matches the mathematics of the psalms (gematria – see definition below). Solomon used the tones and the gematria in the creation of the Song of Songs, also a psalm.
Gematria is an Assyro-Babylonian-Greek system of alphanumeric code or cipher later adopted into Jewish culture that assigns numerical value to a word, name, or phrase phrase in the belief that words or phrases with identical numerical values bear some relation to each other or bear some relation to the number itself as it may apply to Nature, a person's age, the calendar year, or the like. A single world can yield multiple values depending on the system used. – Wikipedia
During the creation of Gregorian chant, the Solfeggio tones were supposedly rediscovered and based on five notes. Later, a sixth note was added. These were based on the discoveries of Pythagoras and his harmony of the spheres.
Musica universalis (literally universal music), also called Music of the spheres or Harmony of the Spheres, is an ancient philosophical concept that regards proportions in the movements of celestial bodies—the Sun, Moon, and planets—as a form of musica (the Medieval Latin term for music). This “music” is not usually thought to be literally audible, but a harmonic, mathematical or religious concept.
The idea continued to appeal to thinkers about music until the end of the Renaissance, influencing scholars of many kinds, including humanists. Further scientific exploration has determined specific proportions in some orbital motion, described as orbital resonance. – Ref: Wikipedia
Many Christians say the Solfeggio Frequencies literally bring you back to the original tones of the heavenly spheres and put your body into a balanced resonance and that Solfeggio music is the key to the universe. You can either throw it away or you can use it to find healing and harmony, health and well-being.
Others argue that religion has hijacked a more logical concept and that while music has healing properties, specific tones do not have the medical research to back them up.
Looking back at the scientific papers referenced earlier, music-based interventions have a positive impact on pain, anxiety, mood disturbance and quality of life in cancer patients.
Advances in neurobiology may provide insight into the potential mechanisms by which music affects these outcomes.
However, it is generally agreed that more research is needed to determine what subpopulation of cancer patients is most likely to respond to music-based interventions, what interventions are most effective for individual outcomes and what measurement parameters best gauge their effectiveness.
In other words, it has not been adequately researched to peer standard and involve too small a group of subjects with poor methodology.
Oliver Sacks, Clinical Professor of Neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, says:
What an odd thing it is to see an entire species—billions of people – playing with listening to meaningless tonal patterns, occupied and preoccupied for much of their time by what they call ‘music’.
The Solfeggio Frequencies, My Final Thoughts
Two things are very real here:
1. This scale has basis in pythagorean theory, a big, albeit slightly mystical history, and is a living entity as a functional musical scale.
Using simple mathematics, Pythagoras was able to describe the basis of almost all musical scales, including the pentatonic, the Western, the chromatic and the Arabic scales.
Pythagoras could answer the question: Why are these notes and scales special? The answer is that they are formed in a simple, systematic, and mathematical manner. Most importantly, Pythagoras showed that the notes are not random or arbitrary and that they could be understood on a deeper level.
Pythagoras’s discoveries bring up a deeper ‘psychology’ question: scales were first developed by ear: we – and the Neanderthals – choose these particular notes before there was any understanding of mathematics or physics. The notes were chosen simply because they were pleasing to the ear. But, as it turns out, the scales also follow basic mathematical constructs. So the question is, what does this say about our likes and emotions? Is there a mathematical/physical basis to them, as well? ~ Source: Music of the Spheres & Lessons of Pythagoras
2. Science has shown, and continues to show, that music has healing properties, many which may yet beyond our understanding.
However, there are no peer-reviewed studies that show evidence of the Solfeggio Frequencies being any better at healing than others; of let's say a harp at 440 Hz vs a harp at 528 Hz.
But there is research on specific frequencies of binaural beats such as 6 Hz and 40 Hz having positive effects on stress reduction and memory – and that isn't dissimilar: See reference studies here, and here, respectively. As mentioned previously, throughout ancient civilisations, the rhythmic qualities of music have been used to stimulate and entrain the brain for healing.
Also consider that funding for music-intervention studies is difficult to come by; I mean: what pharmaceutical company is going to fund research into an area that might cause people to take fewer pills?
There's no profit in lifestyle changes that benefit the consumer.
I find that a lot of people simply reject this ancient scale because of its Biblical links. I think this is short-sighted and simply ignores the Pythagorean influence and history of Guido D' Arezzo and the Gregorian Chants.
I am not a Christian, but I accept that Christianity has a deep history that has a huge influence on music and indeed music tuning today. The foundations of music were shaped within the Church, and it was the aforementioned secular split from the Church that paved the way for the big composers.
That said, we can't be sure of the true history of the frequencies and whether the mathematical calculations worked out thousands of years later hold the significance being assigned to them.
What we do know is that music can be tuned to these frequencies, and when used properly it works well and sounds just as good as the modern standard scale.
Personally I really enjoy music composed in the Solfeggio scale and have to say that I do connect with it and it enhances my listening pleasure – particularly in meditation-type music.
Indeed, the music I buy from this store uses the ancient scale in the tuning of its instrumentation as a complementary addition.
I am not alone either, and you will find numerous anecdotal accounts mirroring mine on the internet.
I'd prefer not to argue whether all the various claims surrounding the Solfeggio Frequencies are real or not. Listening to music that makes you feel good can never be a bad thing: it potentially lowers your heart rate, reduces the level of cortisol (the stress hormone) in your body and releases serotonin (the happy chemical) in your brain.
That is positive experience.
Music is to be shared, explored and enjoyed. And if it heals people; if it helps people free themselves of pain and stress, or perhaps even disease, then let's try to encourage that and research further as best we can.
I will be updating this post as I research further. I'd love to hear from anyone else with further information on this topic, and from anyone who thinks I am interpreting any of this information wrongly. Please leave your comments below.